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Tyson Fury's dad John on build-up to Deontay Wilder fight: 'It was stress like you couldn’t imagine - he wasn't ready'

Tyson Fury spent 12 consecutive days praying at his new-born daughter's bedside in intensive care just weeks out from facing Deontay Wilder. Dad John reveals the immense pressure on the WBC heavyweight champion as he prepared to defend his title...

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What next for the heavyweight division?

Tyson Fury returned back home to Morecambe to be reunited with his six children, having once and for all settled the score with Deontay Wilder.

Britain's remaining world heavyweight champion picked himself off the canvas twice during a remarkable showdown in Las Vegas to finally knock Wilder out in the 11th round and end their WBC title trilogy triumphant.

It brought to an end the long-running heavyweight dispute, but Fury's father John has told Sky Sports that just a month before the fight his son could barely manage to jog three miles.

Live on Sky Sports

BOXXER Fight Night in Newcastle on Saturday night is live on Sky Sports Main Event and Arena from 7.30pm - Hughie Fury, Chris Eubank Jr and Savannah Marshall feature

Fury vs Wilder
Image: Fury was floored twice by Wilder
Image: Fury withstood Wilder's trademark right hand

Having seen the fight postponed in July as he recovered from Covid-19, Tyson then stopped training again in August to stay by his new-born daughter's side at Alder Hey Children's Hospital.

Athena was rushed to intensive care immediately after being born and had to be revived by hospital workers.

While she fought for her young life Tyson spent every day in her corner, and John could see the incredible toll it was having on his own child.

"I went to Alder Hey Hospital, I accompanied him just to keep him right. I said 'look, you've got to do some form of exercise, just don't sit in here. Let's go for a bit of a run, you'll feel better after it.'

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"I'm 56 years old, 20 stone, I outran him. We went for a run round Liverpool and his lungs were on fire, I thought 'look at this'. My lungs? You couldn't hear them. He struggled with a three-mile run.

"He said afterwards 'that nearly killed me' so that's where he was at four weeks prior to that big night."

Fury vs Wilder
Image: Fury won a fight with five combined knock-downs
Tyson Fury knocks out Deontay Wilder during their WBC Heavyweight World Championship fight at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021. WADE VANDERVORT
Image: Fury stopped Wilder in the 11th round to win their third fight

Only once Athena was discharged could Tyson try to focus on the third showdown with Wilder, but John admits he had serious concerns about what shape his son would be in.

"He was going to do it anyway, so what I said was: 'OK then, I'll try to make the best of a bad job. I'll fill him full of confidence'.

"But deep down inside I was worried because I thought 'you know what, he shouldn't be doing this'.

"There's a power to be in boxing, Tyson wanting to stand up for his country knowing Anthony Joshua just lost his belts at home, two miles from where he lives.

"He thought: 'You know what, I can't be like this man, I've got to do my own thing, stand for my country. Win, lose or draw it's on!'"

Eubank, Marshall, Fury
Image: Live on Sky Sports on Saturday - Chris Eubank Jr, Savannah Marshall, Hughie Fury

The victory over Wilder will go down in history as one of the great heavyweight world title fights and, given the struggles Tyson had to overcome in the build-up, his dad believes he's untouchable at the top of the division.

"I can only commend my son, there'll never be another man like Tyson Fury ever in the sport of boxing.

"I told him: 'You're that good, it's scary!'

"He's the full package, he's proven everything, there's nothing more for him to prove. If he walked away today he's done his business, won every professional title there is to win.

"He's a remarkable human being, so embrace him while he's here because when he's gone, he's gone, and then you're back to the boring stuff - the losing. The belts will be gone because - let me tell you something - it'll be a long time before those heavyweight belts are held here again because I think once they leave these shores when Tyson's gone they're staying gone."

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Dillian Whyte: WBC must force Fury to fight me

Manchester United fan Tyson has previously suggested that he'd love to fight at a sold-out Old Trafford, leading to speculation that he could next defend his WBC title there should Dillian Whyte cement his place as mandatory challenger by beating Otto Wallin later this month.

But Whyte is not in the same league as the WBC champion according to John, who instead believes his son should solely focus on becoming the undisputed king of the heavyweight division.

"I don't want to talk about Whyte, he's not in Tyson's class, good luck to the lad, he'll get his shot, but at the end of the day there's bigger fish to fry than Whyte.

"If Tyson was out on a regular basis and sharpens his tools properly and gets that ring rust out of the way, nobody can touch Tyson. At the minute he's boxing 50-60 percent of what he is.

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Carl Froch says he would not be surprised if Tyson Fury retired

"What's to stop him from being undisputed, some blown-up cruiserweight from Ukraine? Tyson without ring rust, and a fair run at the job, gives Oleksandr Usyk no chance.

"The cold hard facts of it is, Tyson at this time is unbeatable, he proved it.

"He can get up from the hardest puncher in the world on half mast, get up and win the fight and take it to him.

"If my son was to listen to me, it's Usyk or nothing… but he never listens to me anyway so it's up to Tyson!"

Sky Sports Boxing schedule

October 16 - Top Rank in San Diego
Emanuel Navarrete vs Joet Gonzalez - WBO featherweight title

October 16 - BOXXER in Newcastle
Savannah Marshall vs Lolita Muzeya - WBO middleweight title
Hughie Fury vs Christian Hammer
Chris Eubank Jr vs Wanik Awdijan

October 24 - Top Rank in Atlanta
Shakur Stevenson vs Jamel Herring - WBO super-featherweight title

October 31 - Top Rank in New York
Jose Zepeda vs Josue Vargas

November 6 - Top Rank in Las Vegas
Mikaela Mayer vs Maiva Hamadouche - IBF and WBO super-featherweight titles

November 6 - BOXXER in Liverpool

November 20 - BOXXER in London
Richard Riakporhe vs Olanrewaju Durodola
Caroline Dubois professional debut

December 11 - Top Rank in Las Vegas
Vasiliy Lomachenko vs Richard Commey

December 18 - Top Rank in Glasgow
Josh Taylor vs Jack Catterall - undisputed super-lightweight title

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